Bryant Park is a small but very popular park with tourists and New Yorkers. It is situated on 42nd St and behind the Central Library on 5th Av. In the daytime it is a fantastic spot for eating your lunch on a beautiful sunny day and in the evening there is a chance to enjoy a balmy New York evening with a glass of wine Sex and the City style. You can also enjoy an evening cinema classic on certain days throughout the summer. As a regular to New York I love to pass on my little find to others because if you want to take 5 minutes out from the city's fast pace or simply have lunch and people watch then visit Bryant Park.
42nd St and 5th Av behind the Central Library
The ultimate cheesy tourist attraction has to be a visit to the Neighbours set, and the patrons are almost exclusively British. Take a tour of Ramsay Street, see Madge’s grave, maybe even catch a glimpse of Dr Karl Kennedy.
A short walk beyond the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, the Oceanogràfic, opened in 2003, claims to be Europe’s biggest oceanarium. It is organised into eight educational zones and includes an eye-popping shark tunnel, sinister crustaceans and cute penguins. Make sure you catch the fantastic dolphin show. Although pricey, it certainly is impressively stocked.
Avenida Autopista del Saler, 1, 3, 5 y 7; Buses: take the 95 from the Torres de Serranos or the 35 from the Plaza del Ayuntamiento; Admission: a combined ticket for the science museum, the Hemisfèric Imax cinema and the Oceanogràfic costs €28.80 for adults and €21.60 for children, students and OAPs; www.cac.es/oceanografic
It begins with a very, very slow ride up a very steep hill, at which point you can see miles and miles of coast down to the Lake District, then it turns to the right and then it plunges to earth in the longest drop of any rollercoaster in Britain and one of the highest in the world. And while it's dropping it tilts to the right at an angle of 90 degrees. The climb reminds me of what they say about childbirth – if women didn't forget what it was actually like, no one would have any brothers or sisters. It really is a terrifying moment when you get to the top.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Home to the Natural History museum, the city's zoo, a bewildering array of statues and a boating lake, the Ciutadella park is best on a Sunday morning. Take a walk with the locals, and, if you've got kids with you, send them off to play on the giant stone mammoth.
Avinguda del Marques de l'Argentera
A genuinely unique experiment, this Site of Special Scientific Interest features 40 hectares of created wetland in the midst of the city, and should not be missed for its beauty and for the diversity of the plants and animals that thrive there.
From Hammersmith tube a 'Duck Bus' (number 283) will take you to the Centre in ten minutes; www.wwt.org.uk
Where to begin? One of the most beautiful buildings in London is also home to one of the richest natural history collections in the world. This is also one of the few museums that pulls off the trick of being immediate and exciting enough for children while providing the kind of depth that keeps adults coming back time and again. Unbelievably, it's also free.
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD; Nearest tube: South Kensington; www.nhm.ac.uk/
The former Southwark power station on the south bank of the Thames is a brilliant place for kids. Whatever the installation in the great turbine hall it's a fantastic place to run around. The shops cafes and views are all excellent, if a little busy. Kids like the pop art galleries, and if they are not that interested in the art, the walk along the riverbank will take you to the National Theatre in one direction and past Shakespeare's globe to the Golden Hinde and Borough Market (Fridays and Saturdays only) in the other - or over the millennium bridge on foot to St Pauls.
The lido is Europe's third biggest pool - 92m x 32m - with newly refurbished kiddie pool, cafe and changing facilities. Open all year if you're a member of the south London swimming club, but only swimmable by mere mortals between May and September. Arrive early on a sunny weekend with a copy of the Guardian to read and you're in a small part of heaven.
Tooting Bec Road, London, SW16 1RU; tel: 020 8871 7198; www.wandsworth.gov.uk/Home/LeisureandTourism/Leisurecentres/TootingBecLido.htm
Not just a toy store for all ages, in the summer months Kids Market hosts several special events and is a great venue for birthday parties. There is an old fashioned arcade, a multi-level play area and outside, in an old fashioned caboose, a deli dedicated to your dog or cat.
1494 Cartwright; Tel: 682 2116; www.kidsmarket.ca
Taronga Zoo is better than your average zoo, set on the north shore with spectacular views of the city. It is worth going to see all the weird Australian wildlife and also to see how happy the giraffes seem compared with the three miserable looking beasts at London Zoo. Take the ferry there from Circular Quay. The recently refurbished and reopened Luna Park, almost under the Harbour Bridge, is also fun for children.
Taronga Zoo is around 12 minutes by ferry from Circular Quay and the CBD. Tel: +61 2 9969 2777; www.zoo.nsw.gov.au/
The park can be found in western Oslo, and has hundreds of statues by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, a man obsessed with the body and its relationship with nature. In summer, the kids will enjoy the nearby waterpark, in winter they can skate at the ice-rink.
Main entrance: Kirkeveien
For little ones, the ponies in the Luxembourg are a gas, as are the park's playground, its old-fashioned boat-like swings, and the merry-go-round where you have to collect as many steel rings as you can by spearing them with a wooden sword.
Keep your kids happy in the interactive gallery at Manchester Art Gallery. Buttons to press, things to do, clothes to dress up in. Take the portrait challenge: can you sit still while the woman in the picture twitches, smiles and burps?
Mosley Street; Tel: 0161 235 8888; www.manchestergalleries.org/
The Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon at the back of Ipanema has a cycle-path and a park around its perimeter. There are kiosks serving food and you can rent pedalos, bikes for kids and on weekends have a go on an elasticated harness.
Take the kids to the Air and Space Museum and take in an IMAX movie there.
Sixth Street & Independence Avenue, SW, The Mall & Tidal Basin; Tel: 1-202 357 2700; L’Enfant Plaza Metro; Open: Sept-May 10am-5.30pm daily; Admission: Museum free, Planetarium $8; www.nasm.si.edu/
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